Many people enjoy spending time with family on Thanksgiving, but those aren't the people in this movie. Claudia Larson (Holy Hunter), a middle aged art restorer, is fired right before her trip home for Thanksgiving. More and more bad news and annoyances pile on Claudia before she arrives coatless at her parents' home in Baltimore. Her spinster aunt has moved from dotty to delusional. Her mother tries to set her up with a sad schoolmate who had a crush on her. Her judgmental sister with the perfect life arrives. And of course, the Thanksgiving dinner is ... lively. The bright spot of the weekend is when her favorite, bohemian witty brother, Tommy (Robert Downey Jr.), shows up with a handsome friend, Leo Fish (Dylan McDermott), in tow.
Home For the Holidays is directed by Jodi Foster and features some excellent subtle performances, like Holly Hunter's Claudia, and some excellent not so subtle performances, like Robert Downey Jr.'s Tommy, but this is not a typical feel good holiday movie. There are a few scenes of family discord, some bittersweet moments of realization, all sprinkled with familiar bits of humor. But if you are one of those people that don't enjoy going home for the holidays, this movie offers sympathetic insight, and in the spirit of the holiday, reveals reasons to be thankful for family.
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